Now the starting defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals, Michael Johnson visited The Fast Life during the NFL Lock-out to discuss his first two seasons of professional football.
“I really got rolling as the  season progressed,” said Johnson who racked up 35 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and 20 quarterback pressures in ten starts, “I look to start this next season off they way I finished last season.”
Last season proved to be a difficult one finishing the season at 4-12 after just making the playoffs the year prior. “A ten game losing streak will let you see people’s true colors,” explains Johnson who never wavered during the team’s ten game slide, “If you are a competitor and want to win, you are going to approach it the same way; you’re going to go out there and give it everything you got and try to will your team to win.”
In his 2009 rookie season, the Bengals had ten wins, including six in their division, sweeping AFC North opponents. “That year was a very good year on the field. We dealt with a lot of stuff as a team off the field. I grew a lot as a man that year,” recalls Johnson who experienced the tragic loss of his teammate Chris Henry. “He was always a great guy around me, it was just unfortunate about what happened,” said Johnson, but, “We pushed on and we did our best, which is what he would want us to do.”
The third round draft pick also experienced the cameras of HBO’s Hard Knocks during his rookie season. “It was a lot of fun. It kind of made the whole rookie thing go by quickly because we had TV people around during the hard times of training camp, so it made that go by faster and added a little bit of spice and fun to it,” laughs Johnson.
As far as his 2011 season Johnson plans to “continue to be a better student of the game. Improve on things week-in and week-out.” Last season Johnson also counted one of the game’s greats as an instructor of sorts. “Terrell Owens comes to work everyday. He’s a great teammate. I definitely learned a lot from him,” says Johnson who’s aim this year is to be “able to better self-correct myself on the field because a lot of times we don’t have time between plays to talk to a coach.”
The former Georgia Tech pass rushing defensive end now has the opportunity as the starter to showcase his potential. “That’s the good thing about the NFL. You get to prove yourself week in and week out. New week new slate.”